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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kalbarri is worth a trip

We did this trip up to Kalbarri in early January.  It is about 5-6 hours straight north of Perth on the coast of the Indian Ocean.  The trip was a 5 day, very necessary stress reliever during the events that lead to the bleepedy bleep post here

I think during my time in Australia, this trip stands out as my favorite.  Margaret River will continue to get awards for it's trendy wine country, sea side surf, fancy cave, lots to do, tourist possibilities which may or may not be deserved.  Mostly this depends on perspective but I can see what they love down there.  

That said, I couldn't help but love the Kalbarri Region.  Hope you enjoy...
On the way up we started off back at the Pinnacles.  See my original post on the Pinnacles here.  This visit solidified a couple of things.  1 - You should visit the Pinnacles during sun up or sunset as the lighting gives them a totally different feel which can't be truly described.  2 - Heavy wind and sand don't really mix.  It was seriously windy that day and rather unpleasant to be walking out among the pinnacles.

A quick stop in Geralton where there is a great park for the kids to play on the waterfront while coal freighters get filled in the background.  A quick stop at Dome for a standard mediocre meal and back in the car to try to hit Kalbarri before sundown.  I'll let you decide if Owen liked his and Olivia's room....   

One of the big attractions in Kalbarri is the Kalbarri National Park which includes several nature trails. Many are very short 500 metres to 2 kms while others are in the 8km + range.  We were sternly warned before we headed up that the temperature can be 5-10C hotter than in town and that these tours should be done early in the morning in Summer.  How bad could it be right?  We got in the car and headed up.

The drive is around 35-50 minutes from town to the major visitor areas with nature walks.  After about 15km the road turns into the washboard you see below and we were forced to slow right down to prevent the car from shaking fillings loose or loosing control.  It isn't that bad, just requires some patients.

We were warned about heat....and oh yes it was scorch your face off hot, but we were not warned about the flies.  The flies were really really bad and apparently this is a well known fact.  There were a few people with mosquito nets and I think this is the way to do it.  Don't let what I'm telling you scare you off, it was worth it.

River gorge to me meant I was going to see a river.  It becomes clear very early that there hasn't been water flowing for some time.  Apparently it can come fast and furious when the Pilbarra region to the north gets Cyclones and heavy rain but that clearly hadn't happened for some time.

Natures window itself...probably the most photographed feature in the region is only a 500 meter walk from the car park.  It's not a difficult hike but there were certainly sections I made absolutely sure I had a good grip on whichever child I happened to be walking with.  It was so hot that at one point Olivia and I were switching hands about every 30 seconds as my hands were so sweaty.

The views were simply brilliant and awe inspiring and forced us to spend a lot of time soaking it in despite the heat and flies.

 After a much needed siesta, swim in the pool and dinner we decided it was time to see the coastline.  Just outside of Kalbarri are a significant number of lookouts, some require short walks and some you can drive right up to.  The wind was really howling but it didn't spoil the great views of the coastline and Indian Ocean.

The next morning we headed back up to Kalbarri National Park and this time went to the Z Bend trail.  This trail is about the same 500meters from the car park and this time there is a small amount of water to see...though not flowing.  We went earlier this time which meant the heat was more bearable.

After we got back to town it was time for another Siesta, swim and then we found some Pizza at Kalbarri Pizza and let the kids burn off some energy.

One of the real highlights for me in this sleepy little tourist town is where the Indian Ocean meets the Murchison River.  Not 500 meters away you have the strong surf of the Indian Ocean but the water in town is almost perfectly still and perfect for swimming.  That is not to mention a great spot to catch the sunset.

This was a really great mini vacation that I would highly recommend to anyone willing to make the trip up.